Dance me to the End of Love

Leonard Cohen: Dance Me To The End Of Love

Quiz by Sharon Michiko Yoneda

artist:  Leonard Cohen

songwriter:  Leonard Cohen

date released:  1984 by Leonard Cohen; re-released by various artist but most notably by jazz songstress, Madeleine Peyroux, in 2005

"Dance Me to the End of Love" is a multi-layered piece juxtaposing very odd bedfellows of the Holocaust experience and passionate romance.  In the Nazi death camps, it was not uncommon to find a string quartet playing classical pieces while fellow inmates were put to tortuous deaths.  We find this experience in the line, "Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin. Dance me to the panic til I'm gathered safely in."  It can be argued that the consummation of human life, "lift me like an olive branch and be my homeword dove" is captured in the ecstasy of romantic love; in other words, death and passionate surrender.   Metaphors and other literary tropes abound in this piece and can be exploited for study purposes.